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I’m David. I’m a headshot photographer, filmmaker, and improviser based in Vancouver, B.C.

I was born in Bombay, I spent my early childhood in Hong Kong, and I’ve lived in B.C. since 1999. I studied at Simon Fraser University and graduated in 2013 with a B.F.A. in Film Production.

I’ve been nominated for a Leo Award, several of my films have been featured at festivals around the world, and I won a singing competition when I was seven. The prize was a year’s pass to an amusement park. What a time to be alive.

I’m obsessed with ideas about meaning and expression, and I love the process of making creative work that is directly beneficial to someone else.

What I do and Why I do it

I used to try to make my work appealing to the largest common denominator. I had a sense that my style was too dark and that I was outside of what people wanted me to be. Eventually, I decided to embrace who I actually am. An aesthetically dark, not-white man, who wants people to be kind, honest, and freely weird and who is hyper-focused on the creative process.

I spent many years as a jack-of-all-trades photographer. I’ve photographed weddings, events, products, influencers, performances, fashion campaigns, and editorial style portraits. I’ve worked as a web designer, graphic designer, and commercial filmmaker.

But I realized, I can’t be all things to all people and still be able to consistently make a meaningful contribution.

I still consider myself an interdisciplinary artist. But I also know that I need a specific focus in my work.

So I stopped what I was doing to look at myself and see what I could provide for people if I were to centre my work around a very specific audience with a very specific need. After much thinking, and some guidance from the writings of the inimitable Seth Godin, it was clear to me what I should do.

Creating dark, bohemian, dramatic headshots for actors who are auditioning for Film, Cable TV, and Netflix shows is at an intersection of my improvisation, directing, and portraiture skillsets.

I believe that I can provide a unique value to actors who share my belief that process effects product.

Because I know how to organically work with actors (having done so for the past thirteen years) in order to facilitate real reactions and emotions, and I also know how to pose people to make them look their best, and I also know how to keep a rolling positive vibe of flowing ideas going – I’m able to direct actors during a photoshoot in a way that helps create more honest and emotional headshots.

I promise that engaging with what I make, and choosing to embark on a collaboration with me, will help you get the attention and respect of casting directors and of the broader filmmaking community.

If you’re reading this, we’re probably somewhat alike. We admire specificity and aspire to create valuable artistic work through a meaningful process.

We know that the process fundamentally influences the product.

We know we are specific. We know what it feels like to try to dull ourselves down to the lowest common denominator. And we want to show who we really are. Because not only is it honest, it’s also more likely to translate into the type of work we are meant to do.

I’m currently booking sessions at a promotional rate, at a lower cost, to try to help actors take a leap with me right now. I believe that actors who take a chance and collaborate with me on their next set of headshots will find the process of doing so both meaningful and pragmatic.

The headshots we create together will show a specific and real side of you, captured in a still image that will make directors, producers, and casting directors stop and take a closer look.

I offer headshot photography sessions for $250 and mini-session for $150. Sessions are two hours long and include three to five looks and nine final edits based on more than 300 proofs. Mini-sessions are an hour long and also include three looks but instead come with three final edits based on more than 150 proofs.

If you’re interested in working together, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to me at david@davidmanuel.net or through the contact form below.

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